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Early life[edit]

She was born in 1802. Her father was Ulumaheihei Hoapili, a son of Kame?eiamoku,
one of the ni?aupi?o (highest noble rank) royal twin brothers. Her mother was High
Chiefess Kalilikauoha of Maui, who was the daughter of King Kahekili II of Maui and
his half-sister bride Luahiwa. Some genealogists say Liliha was only adopted by
Hoapili, but the practice known as hanai was considered a bond as strong as a blood
relation.[1] According to them, she was the biological daughter of Kaokanu, a son
or grandson of Kaolohaka-a-Keawe, one of the many issues of Keawe?ikekahiali?
iokamoku; and his wife High Chiefess Loeau.[2][3] Her name means "heartsick queen"
in the Hawaiian language.[4][5] She had no siblings. She married Boki, an advisor
and friend to King Kamehameha II.[6]

United Kingdom[edit]
Hawaiians in theatre box
In the royal box at London, 1824. Liliha was known as Madame Poke in London.
Boki, Liliha, and Mataio Kekuanao?a were principal members of the entourage that
accompanied King Kamehameha II and Queen Kamamalu on an 1824 diplomatic tour of the
United Kingdom, visiting King George IV. The entire delegation contracted the
measles, since native Hawaiians had no immunity to the disease. As a result, Queen
Kamamalu and several chiefs died, including Kamehameha II who was so distraught
after his Queen's death that he died in Liliha's arms.

Boki and Liliha survived the measles and Boki took charge of what was left of the
delegation. They managed to secure agreements of friendship from the British
government. The Kingdom of Hawaii also became a protectorate of the British
military under those agreements. Boki and Liliha returned to O?ahu with the bodies
of Kamehameha II and Kamamalu in 1825 on the British warship HMS Blonde.[7]

Liliha became embroiled in the dispute over freedom of religion in the kingdom. Ka?
ahumanu was the widow of Kamehameha I, and later ruled as Queen Regent during the
reigns of both Kamehameha II and Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III). She had been
influenced by the Protestant missionaries in Honolulu and was baptized into the
Congregational church. Heeding the advice of her Congregationalist ministers, Ka?
ahumanu convinced King Kamehameha III to ban the Roman Catholic Church from the

The priests and lay brothers of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and
Mary were forcibly deported from the kingdom. Native Hawaiians who had converted
were persecuted. Some were beaten and imprisoned. When Ka?ahumanu discovered that
Boki and Liliha were among the first chiefs to convert to the suppressed Hawaii
Church it angered the queen regent, who wanted all the chiefs to accept
Protestantism in order that all Hawaiians would follow. Kuini Liliha's
steadfastness in her Catholicism influenced Native Hawaiian Catholics to persevere
even in suppression. Only after the intervention of the French government and
Captain Cyrille-Pierre-Thodore Laplace and Kamehameha III's proclamation of the
Edict of Toleration did Hawaiians like Kuini Liliha have the legal right of
membership in the Hawaii Catholic Church.

Royal governor[edit]
As royal governor, Boki incurred large debts from the foreigners and attempted to
cover them by traveling to the New Hebrides to harvest sandalwood. Before departing
in 1829, Boki entrusted administration of O?ahu to his wife. One of her new
responsibilities was to become legal guardian and sole trustee of the properties of
Kamehameha III, who had become king as a child. This was opposed by Ka?ahumanu who
was ruling Hawaii as queen regent and had developed a rivalry with Liliha. About
this time, Ka?ahumanu forced Liliha to give up some of her land in an area known as
Punahou to missionary Hiram Bingham I. This eventually became the site of Punahou
School, also known as O?ahu College, for the children of the missionaries.[8]
Boki and his entourage were lost at sea and pronounced dead, leaving Liliha in
administration as royal governor.[9] On April 1, 1831 Ka?ahumanu heard rumors of a
planned rebellion, so sent Hoapili to remove Liliha of her power, replacing her
with Ka?ahumanu's own brother, John Adams Kuakini as governor of O?ahu. In November
1833 (after Ka?ahumanu's death and Kamehameha III came to age) some chiefs planned
to back her as Kuhina Nui, a position similar to prime minister or as powerful as
co-regent. Instead, Hoapili put his support behind Elizabeth Kina?u, who also acted
as governor of O?ahu with Kuakini returning to the island of Hawai?i.[10]

Liliha had numerous other husbands and partners. In fact, she was probably the most
married chiefess during her lifetime; she had a document seven partners or
husbands. Besides Kahalai?a Luanu?u and Boki, she married Kalaniulumoku and Namaile
by whom she had daughters, Jane Loeau (18281873), and Abigail Maheha (18321861),
respectively.[11] King Kamehameha III declared both eligible for the Hawaiian
throne, and they were sent to the Chiefs' Children's School later known as the
Royal School in Honolulu. With Kamaile, she had a son, John F. Koakanu (18331880)
and two daughters, Maheha (mentioned above) and Kailinoa. With Haalou she had
another daughter Mary Ann Kiliwehi (18401873). With Kulinui she had a son,
Aberahama Kaikioewa Palekaluhi (18301912).[1][12]

She died on August 24, 1839 in Honolulu and was buried on the sacred island called
Moku ?ula on Maui. Later she was reburied in the Waine?e cemetery.[6] Although
treated as a rebel by Ka?ahumanu, she was generally loved by the people. For
example, a traditional hula chant honors her memory.[13] A street is named for her
in Honolulu.